We’ve had our fair share of the Brennan clan in the past, but as far as the Booth relations go we’ve really only encountered Booth’s oftentimes troublemaking brother, Jared. Enter Hank Booth — or “Pops,” as Booth affectionately refers to him. Being a Booth, it was only natural that he would be innately awesome, and he certainly lives up to the family’s reputation for general badassery. I mean, he is the same actor who plays Poppa Gibbs in “NCIS,” so his status as alpha-father-figure was already guaranteed. But I digress.
Booth’s grandfather arrives in town after abandoning his retirement home because he punched a male nurse. I can tell this is going to be a good episode right off the bat. He proceeds to immediately exhibit highly Booth-y tendencies, poking fun at Sweets for his youth (“Where’d you get your M.D., a cracker jack box?”) and noting how lovely Brennan is. The relationship between Booth and his grandfather is beyond adorable, and I’m glad that we’re finally getting some insight into our agent’s mysterious past.
This week’s case seems pretty straightforward — if you’re a believer in spontaneous combustion, that is. The body, or what’s left of it, is discovered by a real estate agent as she is giving a tour of a home. All that remains is a pile of ash, a crispy hand, and a half-preserved foot. Leave it to Brennan to still manage to find a way to get an ID out of mere cinders. Hodgins presents the culprit as being the “Wick Effect.” Essentially, the excessive fat on a person burns them inward. Back at the lab Angela uses her ridiculously unrealistic lab equipment to identify the exact vest the victim was wearing, and after tracking it to a business they can ID the victim.
Booth and Brennan head to “Club Jiggle,” where feeder and eater fetishists congregate. Poppa Booth tags along and quickly attracts several buxom admirers. One of the best moments of the episode is Booth telling Brennan to let his grandpa have his moment gyrating with his attractive companions. She smiles as she watches Booth watch him, both looking amused beyond reason. After studying the remains further, the Squints discover that there were in fact two victims, the second of which was an obese man. Curiously, the only marking they can identify as a defensive wound is an imprint of a nose. Death by nose? We’ve seen weirder on “Bones” in the past, so I wouldn’t put it past the writers.
Ultimately, we find out that the homeowner is actually the murderer. Go figure; I was totally convinced it was the emotionless sociopath of a real estate agent. Apparently, he walked in on Meg and Hugo having sex and eating cake — literally — in his dead wife’s bed. Not okay, right? He then proceeded to beat them to death with the uber-creepy finials on his bed, which just so happened to be likenesses of him and his wife — the nose indent found on the victim’s hand! Did not see that one coming.
One of the most entertaining aspects of this episode was the interactions between Brennan and Grandpa Booth. She giggles happily while chatting on the phone with Booth’s grandfather and actually takes a genuine interest in his well-being. Hank provides some emotional depth to the episode, because I was definitely tormented every time he got lost or felt he was burdening Booth. The scene where he explained the real reason why Booth’s father left nearly broke my heart, but in a good way. Great acting there, Ralph Waite.
The theme of recent episodes seems to be bringing in various characters to comment on and prod at Booth and Brennan’s will-they-or-won’t-they relationship, and Pops certainly doesn’t fail to make mention of it several times throughout the episode. He plays cupid, repeatedly asking Booth about his relationship with Brennan and saying, “She’s got talent, charm, beauty, money. And you’re just friends? I didn’t raise you very well.” Amen to that, Poppa Booth.
When it becomes clear that living with Booth is no longer an option for him, Hank decides to return to the retirement home so Booth won’t have to ask him to leave. When saying his goodbyes, Hank imparts a bit of encouragement to each of them. He asks Brennan to care for Booth, and says sagely, “It all goes by so fast, you don’t want any regrets.” He finally calls Brennan out on her “I don’t understand” nonsense; he tells her not to be scared, which I am going to assume refers to her emotions and feelings for Booth. She tries to play dumb, but Pops isn’t having any of it. After giving Booth a pep talk of his own, Hank returns to the retirement home and I have to try not to get all mopey. I loved him, and one episode was just not enough. The cute exchange between Brennan and Booth at the end, however, placates me. He adorably attempts to compliment Brennan by awkwardly saying, “I like that thing around your neck.” Oh, boys. Like he didn’t know that it was called a necklace. Brennan almost brushes it aside, but it’s a cute moment nonetheless. We’ll just have to wait two weeks for another one like it.